Frontier has an interesting loyalty program. They are one of the few airlines that still gives you credit for the actual miles that you fly (rather than basing your “miles” accrual on the cost of the ticket). They also allow family pooling and give you 1 mile per $1 spent on all purchases using their co-branded credit card. Their mileage expiration policy is a bit draconian compared to other airlines (after only 12 months of inactivity) but so far I have managed to avoid having my miles expire.
Finally Redeeming My Frontier Miles
The problem I have had is that I almost never find a good use for redeeming my my miles. Because the cash cost of their flights is almost always so low, it doesn’t make sense to redeem miles. They charge as few as 10,000 miles for a one-way ticket to most destinations in the US. Sometimes the price is 15,000 or 20,000 depending on the date and route that you’re flying, and international destinations are usually more.
But when you compare that with a flight that costs $59, it seems a bit ridiculous to pay 10,000 miles to redeem it instead.
I actually have about 40,000 miles saved up from flights that we have taken over the past few years. Since Frontier has a generous family pooling program, it can be easy to rack up the miles when the miles you earn with every trip you take get multiplied by 8!
A last-minute trip
Most of my travel is booked fairly far in advance. I am a planner by nature, so it’s pretty rare that I leave my travel plans to the last second. But recently I had the chance to take a last-minute trip out to Utah to both visit my son who is in college out there and watch my alma mater (the University of Cincinnati) play in an NIT basketball game. I didn’t find out that they would be playing in Utah until late Sunday night, so I booked travel Monday morning for a Wednesday to Friday trip. I used 9K American Airlines AAdvantage miles for the outbound leg, but there was not great award availability on the Friday return on the major airlines. Cash prices were also crazy.
Enter Frontier Airlines miles. I was able to use 10,000 Frontier miles to book a trip that had a cash cost of $175
Getting 1.75 cents per mile out of a Frontier mile represents pretty good value. Yes, it has a 8 hour layover in Denver that is a BIT longer than I would prefer, but at least it’s not one of those patented Frontier “overnight in DEN” layovers. Since I work remotely, I can easily just work from the lounge.
The Bottom Line
Sometimes I have found it a bit tricky to actually be able to redeem my Frontier Airlines miles. When the cash cost of a ticket is so low, it seems silly to instead redeem 10,000 miles. But recently I was able to use my Frontier miles (for the first time ever!) to offset the cost of a last-minute trip to visit my son. Getting 1.75 cents per mile out of my Frontier miles represents pretty outstanding value IMO.
What about you? Have you ever had a good redemption of Frontier miles? Leave it in the comments below.
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Earn and burn! I use my Spirit and Frontier points on a flight as soon as possible. I sometimes have to pay one way, and use points for the other direction. I lost Hawaiian, IHG, and Marriott points due to not keeping track. Someone I know insists on paying for Spirit flights despite having saved up many, many points. I even explained, “I used 30,000 Spirit points one way for the same flight, and now you have an opportunity to redeem 4,000/5,000 for the same one-way!” This person would rather forfeit, and even rebut and say, “I didn’t pay for my points.” This same person wouldn’t do the “donate points to charity” option if offered, because it takes extra effort and does not benefit them. I think some people don’t value the lived experience of others and wisdom. I love learning from others, which is why I read articles on travel blogs! To sum up, I was very happy to use tens of thousands of points for a one way trip on Spirit. I got my trip, and cash saved is spent on other, fun things.
Yeah – earn and burn is the right play. I just find it so hard to find worthwhile redemptions on Frontier, since it feels like a waste to spend 10,000 Frontier miles on a flight that costs $49.
I too find Frontier’s redemption values ridiculously low, most of the time.
I have the Frontier card, and was able to achieve elite status due to business spending. That was an incredible perk for me. I also have 6 children, and the benefit of luggage and seat selection was my favorite part. If only they had more destinations they flew from my area. I’m from Maine, and they now only fly to a couple destinations from Portland. Seems like all the routes they can get me to have either ridiculous layovers, or minimal options on schedule. Now I’ve got about 100k points I’m trying to figure out how to spend.
I’ve decided to change over to Southwest Rapid Rewards. Between their earning bonuses from shopping online, and otherwise very reasonable redemption rates, I’ve found a new friend.
Sorry Frontier, you’ll at least have to add more destinations from PWM if you want me back. Making the redemption rate more competitive would go a long way as well.
Yeah – when I had elite status (even their Elite 20K status) it did make traveling with the family much more enjoyable with the free bundling. It would have also been nice to have access to that on this most recent flight when I flew 3 hours in a back of the plane middle seat 🙁
I have he family pooling but I don’t know how to redeem it. I have over 42K in the family pooling, but when I try to book a 20k flight, it says I don’t have the miles? Is there a special way to access the family pooling miles?
Hi! Apparently Frontier’s family pooling feature is not working correctly since an upgrade. See FlyTalk Forum under topic family pooling–a frequent flyer posted a way to get the pooling feature to work–see Dec. 12, 2022 post. I have not tried this, so would want to know if it works for you. Let me know.Thanks.